Explore Secondary

PEN’s programs take some of the mystery and stress out of finding a middle school or high school program for your child, and give you an idea of what to expect during these key transition periods in your child’s education.

Transition to Middle School

Can’t quite believe that your child is going to be going to school with adolescents? That he or she will become an adolescent in a year or two? For parents of upper-grade elementary school students, the first glimpse of middle school can be daunting.

Hello, Middle School! (March 7, 2019)

Middle school brain - it’s a real thing! This program helps parents learn what to expect when their 5th graders start middle school. With the help of experienced middle school teachers, we talk about:

  • Middle School Brain - it’s a real thing!

  • Scaffolding - supporting students as they become more independent

  • Tips and tools to help parents stay on top of the important stuff

Presentation, handouts, and links to additional resources available here.

Middle School Myth vs. Reality: Parent Panel
October 17, 2018

Get an overview of PUSD’s middle school options and straight talk about academics, social environment, enrichment opportunities and more from parents whose students who attend PUSD middle schools. Find out the similarities, differences, opportunities, and unique cultures of the different PUSD middle school programs. Opportunity for questions from the audience. This program will definitely take some of the stress out of the middle school decision-making process. Handouts included:


Transition to Middle School: PEN’s Results and Recommendations reports on the research PEN conducted during the 2012-2013 school year about the issues parents consider when making a decision about what middle school to attend, and what PEN and PUSD can do so more families consider staying in PUSD for secondary school.  We updated parts of the report to create a Transition to Middle School Summary Report 2017, which shows that PUSD middle schools have made improvements.  We recommend that you read this report before attending our fall programs since it addresses how parents viewed PUSD middle schools, and how PEN and PUSD are working together to improve the middle school experience for our students.  Many of the recommendations in the report were implemented and we continue to work with PUSD administration to monitor progress in the middle schools.


Navigating Open Enrollment in PUSD  
december 4, 2018

Families in any grade level in Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre may apply for admission to PUSD schools other than their assigned neighborhood school through the Open Enrollment process. Students are accepted based on availability and a random lottery process. PEN representatives explain the process and the timelines, and answers questions. The Open Enrollment slide presentation is available here. More detailed information is available on PEN’s Open Enrollment page.

Transition to High School (and beyond!)

High School Options 101
October 3, 2018

Four high schools, ten college and career academies, AP and IB classes, new graduation requirements – What does it all mean for your student? Get an overview of PUSD’s options, a glossary of high school-specific terms and acronyms, a framework for comparing key offerings and features, and find out where PUSD graduates go from here. Meet the principals from Blair, Marshall, Muir, and PHS. Handouts (2018) included:

pusd-to-College program series

PEN partners with College Access Plan (CAP) to offer a series of programs helping parents plan for and navigate the path through high school to college. Topics include:

Click here for program descriptions and available materials.